The Best Way to Store Coffee

updated May 1, 2019
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There are a lot of questions when it comes to buying and storing coffee, but there’s an easy answer. In fact, the answer is much the same to buying fresh food: buy small amounts and buy regularly.

Villel Unihom Glass Canister, $12.50 (Image credit: Villel Unihom)

While it may seem time-efficient to stock up on six months of coffee at a time, that isn’t doing your coffee beans any justice. But obviously we don’t go and buy fresh beans every other day, nor do most people consume coffee in those kinds of quantities. Which means that you have to think about storing it.

Coffee is a sensitive product, however, and you want to make sure you store it in a way that helps keep its flavor.

For storing coffee and keeping beans on hand, here are some helpful guidelines.

1. Store whole beans, not ground.

If you want to ensure you brew the freshest cup every time, then store whole beans. Coffee oxidizes fairly quickly after it has been ground, which is why coffee aficionados will tell you there is no other option than grinding at home.

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2. Use coffee beans within two weeks.

Coffee beans are best consumed within a certain time period after they are roasted, and if you keep them for too long, they will eventually go stale, something that will have a serious effect on the taste of your drink. Drinking your coffee within two weeks of the roast date is a good rule of thumb.

And if you don’t live close to a roaster where it’s easy to regularly stock up on freshly roasted beans, there are plenty of roasting companies that will ship directly to your door. Having good coffee on hand has never been easier.

3. Store beans in a clean, airtight container.

Just like you clean your coffee brewer out, you want a clean container to put your beans in. You can store your beans in the bag that they came in, but some bags do a better job of protecting the beans than others. If the coffee comes in a resealable bag with a firm seal, you’re good to go. Otherwise, opt for a glass jar with a lid. It can be as simple as recycling a glass jar that something else came in, just be sure to clean it out first so there are no residual smells from whatever was in it before.

4. Put the beans in a cool, dark place.

While coffee plants need sun to grow, your roasted coffee beans won’t do so well in sunshine. So don’t store those beans on the windowsill! A cupboard is a great place to store beans.

And no, do not put the beans in the refrigerator.